Being a business owner, I often lose sight of what’s important. I memorize my presentations (so I can wow my audience), balance my books (so I don’t get in trouble), attend networking events (so I can find clients), and take continuing education courses (so I can know and implement best practices in coaching and leadership development). Yes, I lose focus, which as a business owner, means fulfilling my mission: to help my clients grow and flourish, both personally and professionally.
I often get off track, due to “tyranny of the urgent,” as Stephen Covey says. Those urgent, immediate perceived needs (emails, messy piles of paper, the cat meowing at the door) push their way into my busy life, trying to take over.
That, or I get off track because I’m too tired, too burned out, too discouraged, or too stuck.
We all get off track and lose our focus at times. But we don’t have to wait until the fog clears on its own. We can take responsibility to regain the clarity and focus that will move us forward.
Take a break.
Perhaps you’ve lost your focus because you’re physically and mentally exhausted. Drained. Not surprisingly, most people are. We abuse our bodies and minds by trying to fill every waking minute of the day. During my workshops and presentations, when I encourage people to take more breaks, my audience simultaneously breathes a sigh of relief (because they know this to be true) and lets out a groan (because they feel guilty, as there is always more to be done, and the idea of taking a break seems a luxury ill afforded).
However, the world will not end if you take a break. Should you pencil into your schedule an hour, a day, or even a week or two, you need time to rest, reflect, and rejuvenate.
Examine your priorities.
Lack of focus is often caused by conflicting priorities. You want this, but you also need that. One of my clients, a business owner, desired a thriving business, but also knew that she spent too much time on growing it, much to the neglect of her marriage. So she had trouble on which big business decision to make next, because one decision would likely lead to huge profits, but little time for her husband, while the other decision was less likely to lead to financial success, but would ensure the success of her marriage. She felt stuck.
If you want to refocus, you should identify and examine your priorities. What’s most important to you? What decisions would best align with those priorities?
Discern God’s voice.
Are you listening? He’s speaking to you in a still, quiet voice. We have access to His focus, His clear guidance, if we will only still ourselves and discern His voice. Distractions cause us to lose focus and go astray from the path He’s laid out for us. While we can’t eliminate these distractions, we can maneuver around them and see them for what they are—obstacles meant to hinder our growth and relationship with Christ. Jesus, however, will never lead us astray but will point us in the way we should go.
Cast a vision.
One of the activities some of my clients do is a vision board. The board includes words, pictures, and drawings from magazines, books, or their personal photo collections that are pasted collage-style. Meant to provide inspiration and clarity, the board serves to motivate my clients to move in the direction God desires for their lives.
Whether by creating a vision board or by simply writing down your vision for the life God has for you, regularly reflecting on it can get you unstuck and help you regain focus.
So, folks, while we all lose focus and momentum at times, we don’t have to remain there. We can take action. By taking a much needed respite, scrutinizing our priorities, listening to the voice of God, and casting and protecting our vision, we can stay focused and on task.